Ours is a social society and we eat for all sorts of reasons. Parties – there’s food. Weddings – there’s food. Funerals – there’s food. No matter what the occasion, food is usually involved. So it’s hard not to involve our emotions when food is around. Many of us had well meaning mothers who tried to soothe us or take away our pain, by offering food. Bad day at school? Have some milk and cookies. Fall on the playground? Have some milk and cookies. An A on a test? Have some milk and cookies. So it’s easy to see how we internalize these messages that food will solve our emotional problems. Too bad it’s not true!
Where it gets tough, is when these emotions get deeper or sadder and harder to identify. Emotions like Shame, Blame and Guilt. Ugh. These are the tough ones to not only identify and heal, but when we’re feeling these at our core, they make it impossible to feed ourselves in a loving way.
So how can we begin to figure out if our emotions are affecting our eating and what those emotions are???
I would highly recommend that you create some structure around your eating-
- plan your meals ahead of time
- have 3 discreet mealtimes to identify other times of unstructured or unplanned eating.
- figure out what those unplanned or unstructured times are about – What are you feeling during those times?, What’s your motivation to eating during those times?, What is your behavior like? (are you eating quickly, eating in secret, do you feel out of control?)
- The structure will help you get back in touch with your body’s true hunger and help you know when your hungry and when you’re full.
When you stop using food for a purpose other than fuel, things will start to bubble to the surface and become clear. Stuffing ourselves with food keeps the emotions and the issues stuffed down as well.
Let me know how it’s going for you!